Gerardo Parra Rumors

Rosenthal On Aiken, Parra, Dodgers, Benoit, Cubs

In his latest column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reminds everyone why experienced foreigners like Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu are considered eligible for Rookie of the Year awards.  Of course, players like Abreu and Tanaka come with years of professional experience, but they still have to make a significant transition when it comes to the move to MLB, both professionally and culturally.  Here’s more from Rosenthal..

  • High school left-hander (and first overall draft choice) Brady Aiken reportedly arrived in Houston last Monday, which would indicate that an agreement was close, but a week later nothing has been announced and neither side is saying why.  The holdup, Rosenthal says, bears a resemblance to the delays that occasionally occur in free agency when players fail physicals and teams try to rework deals.  If indeed Aiken failed his physical, the Astros would have the right to offer him 40 percent of his signing bonus value, according to the new draft rules that were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011.  Of course, this is just speculation on Rosenthal’s part and only the parties involved know whether there is any kind of issue with Aiken’s physical.
  • D’Backs outfielder and fan favorite Gerardo Parra might be among the least likely in Arizona to be traded. With  A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo on the disabled list, a trade of the 27-year-old would leave the club short on experienced outfielders.  It’s also unclear how much Parra would bring back in a trade.  Parra is making $4.85MM in his third year of arbitration and amounts to little more than a platoon player, given his career .586 OPS against left-handers. Third baseman Martin Prado, earning $11MM per season through 2016, is another player the D’Backs might opt to keep, even though he has struggled at the plate as well.  Second baseman Aaron Hill, meanwhile, is expendable given their surplus of middle infielders.
  • It would be surprising if the Dodgers traded an outfielder considering the recent injury woes of Carl Crawford, Joc Pederson, and Andre Ethier.
  • The Tigers didn’t re-sign Joaquin Benoit last winter because they didn’t want to pay him closer money, but he still makes sense for them as a mid-season pickup.  The Padres reliever, who turns 37 in July, is owed about $3MM this season and $8MM next season with an $8MM team option or $1.5MM buyout for 2016.
  • Jake Arrieta probably has the best stuff of any Cubs starter right now but, of course, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are more likely to be traded since Arrieta is under club control through 2017.  Lefty Travis Wood, meanwhile, could be an extension candidate once the Cubs complete their rotation selloff.

D’Backs Preparing To Sell; McCarthy Drawing Interest

Though his ERA and win-loss record aren’t much to look at (5.38 and 1-10), Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy is drawing trade interest, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). A free agent at season’s end, McCarthy has about $4.72MM remaining on this year’s $9MM salary — the second year of a two-year, $15.5MM pact he inked in the 2012-13 offseason. Rosenthal notes that Arizona is likely to make multiple trades before this year’s deadline.

While McCarthy’s season looks rough on the surface, there are a lot of factors suggesting that he could quickly turn things around. McCarthy’s .339 batting average on balls in play is 44 points higher than the league average, and he’s sporting the best ground-ball and K/9 rates of his career (55.9 percent and 7.4, respectively). His fastball velocity has soared from an average of 90.8 mph over the past two seasons to 93 mph, and he’s sporting his best swinging-strike rate since 2006 as a result. McCarthy has mostly been plagued by home runs this season, but his fluky 21.7 percent homer-to-flyball ratio figures to come down.

There’s not much question that McCarthy will be available in trades. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports, the Snakes are said to be preparing to put a “for sale” sign on their roster and are weighing trades of multiple veteran players. GM Kevin Towers — who, despite the hiring of Tony La Russa, calls this July business as usual — told Piecoro: “[W]e have to look at being more open-minded of moving some contracts and some veteran players for younger players.”

A fire sale may not be as easy for the D’Backs as it would for most teams, however, Piecoro cautions. McCarthy and fellow veterans Cody Ross and Aaron Hill are underperforming this season, which will hurt Arizona’s potential return in trades. Other movable veterans such as Eric Chavez, Bronson Arroyo and Mark Trumbo are all currently on the disabled list.

One scout told Piecoro that the left-handers in Arizona’s bullpen — Joe Thatcher and Oliver Perez — figure to be of interest to other clubs. Both have enjoyed strong seasons to this point. Thatcher is a free agent at season’s end, while Perez, who signed a two-year deal this winter, is controlled through 2015. That same scout said he is intrigued by Gerardo Parra, but noted that the outfielder’s declining speed is a concern.

Towers noted to Piecoro that he would be reluctant to move young, controllable players such as Didi Gregorius and Triple-A shortstop Nick Ahmed (presumably, Chris Owings falls into that category as well).


Diamondbacks, Gerardo Parra Avoid Arbitration

The Diamondbacks and outfielder Gerardo Parra have sidestepped an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.85MM, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro (on Twitter). Parra is a client of Relativity Baseball (formerly known as SFX).

Parra and the D-Backs exchanged arb figures back in January, with Parra asking for a $5.2MM salary and the club countering with a $4.3MM figure. Parra's $4.85MM guarantee is $100K north of the $4.75MM midpoint between the two figures. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected the defensive wizard to earn $4.2MM this offseason.

The 26-year-old Parra batted .268/.323/.403 with 10 homers and 10 stolen bases (in an unsightly 20 attempts) for the Diamondbacks in 2013. Though his stolen base efficiency left something to be desired, Parra cut his strikeout rate to a career-low 15.2 percent and played some of the best outfield defense in all of Major League Baseball. Parra appeared at all three outfield positions, and UZR/150 valued his defense at a sky-high +29.5 runs. The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved metric pegged Parra for a ridiculous +41 runs, essentially making him the outfield equivalent of Andrelton Simmons. The oustanding defense is reflected in his Wins Above Replacement totals, as despite a roughly league-average season with the bat, Baseball-Reference pegged him at 6.1 WAR while Fangraphs valued him at 4.6 WAR.

With Parra's case now resolved, Mark Trumbo is the only remaining Diamondbacks player who has not yet agreed to a 2014 salary, as can be seen in MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker.



Arbitration Filing Numbers

MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker is the place to go to see the arbitration contracts agreed upon thus far, as well as the figures exchanged between teams and players that were not able to reach agreement before today's noon deadline to swap salary positions. Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available here.

As MLBTR has previously explained, 146 players officially filed for arbitration (after some eligible and tendered players had alread reached agreement). Of those, 40 players will exchange figures with their clubs. Of course, those players can still reach agreements before their hearings (which will take place betwee February 1st and 21st). If the case goes to a hearing, the arbitrator must choose one side's figures, rather than settling on a midpoint.

For the Braves players listed below, however, Atlanta says it will cease negotiations and take all cases to a hearing. Two other teams that have swapped figures with some players — the Nationals and Indians — also have employed variations of the "file and trial" approach with their arbitration cases.

Though a tweet from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Reds have joined the list of teams employing "file and trial," GM Walt Jocketty did not seem to echo that position in comments today to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. It turns out that the team has only taken that position with respect to players whose deals were valued under the $2MM level, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

We will use this post to keep tabs on the the highest-stakes arbitration situations remaining — those where the player files for at least $4.5MM:


D-Backs Could Look To Extend Parra, Ziegler

The Diamondbacks are expected to pursue long-term deals for both Gerardo Parra and Brad Ziegler this offseason, writes Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona.

Interest in an extension for Parra was actually first noted by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic last week. General manager Kevin Towers offered high praise for Parra's glove to both reporters, noting that Parra is the type of player who can win games with his glove and throwing arm alone. Towers said to Piecoro that he feels Parra profiles better as a center fielder from an offensive standpoint, though he's a better defender on the outfield corners.

Towers voiced his pleasure with Ziegler to Magruder, praising his right-hander for pitching well in any situation:

"He's pitched well. He's pitched well since he's been here, in lot of different roles," Towers said. "When he comes in a ballgame, I feel pretty confident, whether it is the seventh, eighth or ninth."

Parra is earning $2.35MM this season and is under team control through 2015 as an arbitration eligible player. Ziegler, who was acquired from the A's for Brandon Allen and Jordan Norberto in July 2011, is earning $3.15MM this season and is eligible for free agency following the 2014 campaign.

Towers' comments on Parra's glove appear to be spot on, as UZR/150 pegs him at a sky-high +29.4 runs, and The Fielding Bible estimates that he's saved 38 runs on defense alone in 2013. At the plate, he's delivered a .266/.322/.401 slash line that checks in just below league average (98 OPS+).

As for Ziegler, he's turned in a 2.26 ERA in 67 2/3 innings. And, while his 5.1 K/9 is low, he mitigates that with a 2.8 BB/9 rate and a whopping 70.3 percent ground-ball rate that checks in as the highest among pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings this season.

Parra told Magruder that he "loves" playing in Arizona but doesn't want to listen to contract offers until after the season and is focused on finishing strong. Ziegler simply said he wants to pitch for a winning team, regardless of what inning he's entering the game: "I want to be on a winning team, and whatever I can do to help the team win, you are never going to find me complaining about my role on the team."


Diamondbacks, Parra Avoid Arbitration

We'll track the day's arbitration agreements under $3MM right here. Be sure to check out MLBTR's Arbitration Basics for a primer on the process. Now for today's signings…

  • The Diamondbacks announced that they have avoided arbitration with outfielder Gerardo Parra, agreeing to a one-year contract for 2013. The deal is worth $2.35MM, a source tells Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (on Twitter). Parra, a 25-year-old SFX client, was arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason with a projected $2.1MM salary. He remains under team control through 2015. As MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows, the Diamondbacks have now avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players.

Diamondbacks Considering Trading Kubel Or Parra

The Diamondbacks are weighing whether Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra is a better fit as their everyday left fielder in 2012, GM Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  The Snakes are also looking for help at shortstop and third base this winter, and Towers said those decisions will affect the direction that Arizona takes in left field.

"When you put a club together, it’s more of a puzzle,” Towers said. “What you do at short and third maybe changes what your need is in left. If you get more offense on the corner, then maybe there’s more of a premium for the defender in left. If you don’t get the offense and you get the defense in the infield, you have to have your power somewhere."

Piecoro projects the 2013 D'Backs outfield as Justin Upton remaining with the team and playing right field, Adam Eaton playing center, and one of Kubel or Parra in left, leaving A.J. Pollock as the fourth outfielder.  The loser of the Kubel/Parra decision would become expendable along with Chris Young, who has already been rumored to be on the trading block.  Young is owed $8.5MM in 2013 and his $11MM option for 2014 carries a $1.5MM buyout, and Piecoro reports that the D'Backs expect to eat some of that money in any Young trade.

Kubel signed a two-year, $15MM deal with Arizona last December and he hit 30 homers with a .253/.328/.506 batting line in 2012, though he slumped in the second half of the season, posting just a .745 OPS after the All-Star break.  Parra posted a .727 OPS in 430 plate appearances last year and provided his usual excellent glovework, recording a +13.8 UZR/150 rating.  It's a clear choice between hitting and defense for the Snakes, though contracts also play a role — while Kubel will earn $7.5MM next year, Parra is arb-eligible for the second time this winter and is under control through 2015 as a Super Two player.

Towers mentioned how defense was an important factor at Chase Field and that he wanted the team to be less reliant on home runs, leaving Piecoro to speculate that this could mean the D'Backs could move away from Kubel in left and Chris Johnson at third base.

In other team news, Piecoro hears that Trevor Bauer isn't likely to be traded.  D'Backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick sounded critical of Bauer last week, leading to some speculation that the team had soured on the highly-touted 21-year-old.  If Arizona actually did make Bauer available, the 2011 third overall pick would instantly become one of the biggest trade chips on the market this offseason.


Olney On Young, Upton, Diamondbacks

The chances of Justin Upton, Chris Young, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton returning to the Diamondbacks’ outfield in 2013 seem slim, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. One or more of those players will likely be moved in trades. Here are the details on Arizona’s offseason plans…

  • Rival executives believe the Diamondbacks will trade Young this offseason. Some say they expected Arizona to let Young go on waivers if he had been claimed last month. The center fielder will earn $8.5MM in 2013 and his contract includes a 2014 option with a $1.5MM buyout.
  • Some rival executives sense that GM Kevin Towers is less likely to trade Upton this winter than he has been in the past. There’s no guarantee teams will meet Arizona’s asking price for Upton and there’s concern that the right fielder would blossom as a hitter if he’s traded elsewhere.
  • Despite the Diamondbacks’ impressive core of young pitching, Towers would like to add a veteran starting pitcher this offseason, Olney reports.

NL West Notes: Montero, Parra, Giants, Kasten

It was on this day in 1983 that the Dodgers, after selling 27,000 season tickets, cut off season ticket sales for the upcoming season out of a desire to leave large quantities of seats available for walkup and group sales.  The club could be on the way to rekindling this popularity in Los Angeles, as tickets are selling fast with the news that the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten group has bought the team.

Some items from the Dodgers and elsewhere in the NL West…

  • Miguel Montero is looking for a contract akin to Victor Martinez's four-year, $50MM deal with the Tigers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  Montero is entering the last year of his contract with the Diamondbacks and Heyman believes that the Snakes will have trouble re-signing the catcher at his desired price.  While Yadier Molina's extension with the Cardinals raised the bar for catcher contracts, I think Montero needs one more big season to prove himself worth of a Martinez-esque deal.  The D'Backs could also use V-Mart as a reverse example, pointing to his season-ending ACL injury as an example of why a catcher's health is tenuous (thought Martinez had mostly transitioned to a DH spot in Detroit) and why they'd be hesitant to make such a commitment to Montero.
  • Montero wouldn't confirm his contract demands to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona and said he "can’t really think about" potentially giving the Diamondbacks a hometown discount "right now" since he's focused on the upcoming season.
  • The Diamondbacks are still getting trade inquiries about Gerardo Parra but the team isn't going to move the Gold Glover, tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.  Arizona GM Kevin Towers describes the trade market as "pretty quiet."
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the details of the Giants' TV contract, which runs through the 2032 season.
  • In case you missed it earlier today, Giants CEO Larry Baer commented on the negotiations between the team and pending free agent Matt Cain.
  • In an interview with Chris Russo of Mad Dog Radio on SiriusXM, Stan Kasten dismissed criticism that his group overpaid for the Dodgers and thought they met "the market value" for the team.  Kasten did say that Mark Walter, the chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, views the Dodgers as "a gold standard asset that you just cannot acquire….there are values there that just transcend conventional return on investment metrics."
  • Kasten has heard "generally favorable" impressions about Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly and isn't planning to make any management changes, "but you don’t know anything until you work with people."
  • Kasten said that the team will look into renovating, not replacing, Dodger Stadium.  Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, however, speculates that the Dodgers could build a new ballpark in downtown Los Angeles and sell the Chavez Ravine land to a group looking to build a stadium for a new NFL team for L.A.

NL East Notes: Pelfrey, Parra, Nats, Valdez, Phillies

On this date last year the Mets released Oliver Perez with one year and $12MM remaining on his contract. Perez, now a member of the Mariners organization, hasn't appeared in the Major Leagues since. Here are some links from his former division…

  • After talking to a Mets official, "it doesn't seem" like the team has talked about cutting Mike Pelfrey, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link).  However, the Mets are "well aware of the fact" that Pelfrey's contract is non-guaranteed and, if the right-hander is cut, the Mets will only have to pay a portion of his $5.68MM salary.  Pelfrey has had a very rough Spring Training, posting a 14.90 ERA in 9 2/3 innings of work.
  • The Diamondbacks aren't going to trade Gerardo Parra to the Nationals, a D'Backs source tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
  • The Phillies are looking for infield help but it's "doubtful" they would try to re-acquire Wilson Valdez, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The Phils dealt Valdez to the Reds in January since the Phillies felt they were already set for utility infield options — somewhat ironic given their current position.
  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News argues that the Phillies need to add a veteran infielder give the questionable health of their projected starters. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Michael Martinez are all currently dealing with injuries.
  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney gets the sense that the Braves’ on-field personnel prefer Andrelton Simmons for the starting shortstop job, while the front office favors Tyler Pastornicky. Such divergences of opinion are common and not necessarily problematic, as Olney notes.
  • Olney hears from talent evaluators who say Jair Jurrjens has struggled to command his fastball and that Jason Heyward is "still thinking about his mechanics" at the plate.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post